January snowfall sets records as storm after storm brought fresh powder to the Tetons
By mid-month over 11 feet of snow had fallen in the mountains. Annual snowfall at 9,000 feet is 400 inches and current level is 317 inches. Fortunately, the month ended with warmer temperatures and a bit of sun so the Jackson community could plow, shovel, clear roofs and prepare for February. There’s lots of winter yet to come.
The National Park Service made plans to kill the non-native Rocky Mountain goats in Grand Teton National Park during the month of January.
These mountain goats are an introduced species and compete with the native Bighorn Sheep. There is a concern over sufficient habitat and the potential for the spread of disease. The plan was to shoot approximately 100 animals from a helicopter, but their efforts were thwarted by stormy weather. The issue is controversial because the Park hired aerial gunners rather than allowing hunters a unique opportunity to “participate in the hunt of a lifetime, take an active role to protect a fragile species, and put meat in their freezer,” states to Outdoor Life magazine. Learn more »
2020 will mark the 25th anniversary of the wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park.
Eight wolves were brought from Canada to Yellowstone on January 12, 1995. Wolves were believed to be extinct in Yellowstone and were reintroduced in accordance with the Endangered Species Act. Wolves and elk co-evolved to have a direct predator-prey relationship. Having wolves in the ecosystem promotes natural elk behavior by keeping the animals moving through their habitat. Learn more about the Gray Wolves in Yellowstone »
Regardless of their biological role, wolves continue to be controversial. Currently, the State of Idaho is proposing a wolf-free zone to allow wolves to be shot throughout the year. Idaho Fish and Game hopes to allocate funding to count the wolves in the state to protect the livelihood of ranchers. Read Idaho’s plan to count wolves »
“When the mind is full of memories and preoccupied with the future, it misses the freshness of the present moment. In this way, we fail to recognize the luminous simplicity of the mind that is always present behind veils of thought.”
— Matthieu Ricard
What’s in the Woods
1/5 – Elk Refuge: two bald eagles, ravens, magpies feeding on carcass/ Triangle X: lone bison feeding in meadow
1/5 – Buffalo Valley: large herd of elk grazing
1/7 – Munger Mountain: bald eagle soaring
1/8 – Maverick on Highway 89: female mountain lion feeding on deer carcass
1/9 – five feet of snow with 6 inches of moisture has fallen since beginning of January
1/15 – Large avalanche on Taylor Mountain in Teton range
1/20—1/26 – week of warmer temperatures, January thaw
1/29 – 11 inches of fresh snow and a sunny afternoon — idyllic!
There are lots of exploration options with all this snow! A tour up Teton Canyon offers amazing views on a sunny day. The trailhead is located on the west side of the Tetons in Alta, WY, just east of Driggs, ID. The trail is groomed by Teton Valley Trails and Pathways. Check out their grooming report to see all the touring options in Teton Valley, Idaho. In Grand Teton National Park, you can’t beat time at Taggert Lake beneath the towering Tetons, or a tour along Jackson Lake just a bit further north from Colter Bay. It’s always worthwhile to stop by the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center on North Cache in downtown Jackson to get up-to-date information and a local’s suggestion. Have fun!